Overwatch League Expansion Tier List: What cities will we see next?

It was recently reported that the Overwatch League was looking to expand with a price tag of a cool $30 to $60 million. Activision Blizzard also announced that they are now looking to add four or six teams instead of the two they were planning on originally. This adds numerous possibilities, and many different cities will be vying for spots in the league.

With that in mind we are going to look at which cities have the best chance of getting Overwatch League teams and rank them into three tiers.

Rankings will be based on the following questions:

  1. How big is the city?
  2. Has the city had any involvement in esports before? If so, how successful have those events been?
  3. Is there a known investor/franchise that is from that city that would want to put it there?
  4. Are there teams in close proximity to this city already? (i.e. another LA would not be likely)

There will be other factors to keep in mind as well. If they only go with four teams will they just keep the two divisions? If they go six do they split them up? Also, they will want to keep the divisions equal. To do so, there are only so many teams from certain areas that can can be considered.

Not happening this time

There are some cities that will probably be mentioned but, it is very unlikely that they will get a spot for one reason or another.

Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Kansas City- While all of these cities have a good amount of traditional sports teams, it is unlikely in this first expansion that they will pick two Midwest cities – especially ones that don’t have a huge connection to esports just yet.

Rome, Barcelona- Both are huge for soccer/futbol. That being said they aren’t necessarily known for esports and while they could eventually get teams there is no chance they beat out most of these other cities.

Tier 3- Unlikely but Possible

Brooklyn-  This was originally going to be a complete no, but looking at a couple factors changed that. To start, the Season 1 playoffs are happening at the Barclays Center. Also, most traditional sports have at least two teams in the big apple. Lastly, Los Angeles already has two teams so why not put two in New York as well? The main reason this is a long shot is that the Overwatch League wants to be a global league and there are areas of the United States and Europe that need teams more. Remember, there can only be two or three teams coming from the Atlantic area.

Overwatch league expansion

Courtesy of: Knights.gg

Beijing- The market in Asia is huge for just about any esport, especially China. Beijing did host the 2017 World Finals for League of Legends in an arena that held 91,000. The real problem is that there are at least two other cities that will be on this list that the OWL will want more for their Asian market. Truthfully, if Shanghai hadn’t come first, it is very likely that Beijing would be a higher priority.

Pittsburgh- This city is the least expected one on this list. That being said there is already an established esports organization that is officially the esports team of the city, the Pittsburgh Knights. With investors already coming in and the city backing them, it would be very easy for the OWL to establish a team in this city. Also Rob “Leonyx” Lee, owner, already has a ton of experience within the world of esports and would be able to help grow the new league.

The major problem is that without the already established team, Pittsburgh would never be considered. They don’t host any big events, it’s one of the smaller cities on this list, and the Philadelphia Fusion are in the same state.

Denver- DreamHack being in Denver put this city on the esports map. It’s in a very good location as there aren’t any teams already established anywhere nearby. That is about all it has going for it when it comes to a potential team, though. Unless a major investor with connections to this area comes forward, it is hard to see the Mile High City getting a team this time around.

Tier 2- Close but just out of reach

Atlanta- There is a lot to like about putting a new team in Atlanta. To start, there are no other teams in the area, so they could hit a whole new demographic. Their newest team in the MLS is bringing more fans to their games than any other team which means that this city receives new teams with enthusiasm. Lastly, Atlanta is a hotbed for hosting esports events such as DreamHack, the CWL, and more. The only thing going against Atlanta is that there are a limited number of spots.

overwatch league expansion

Courtesy of: Dribble.com

Washington D.C.- With a plethora of investors to choose from, a brand new NBA2k league team, and it being the capital of the United States it makes it hard not to at least consider D.C. The city is obviously big enough. The problem is that there are already so many teams in close proximity, such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. If D.C. wants a team and they don’t get one this time around, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one in serious consideration next time.

Cleveland- The Midwest desperately needs an Overwatch League team. The closest ones are either on the East coast or in Dallas. While Cleveland may not have been on the list before, that has changed majorly in the last year and a half. There is clearly investment interest as Cleveland has added two major esports franchises in the Cavs Legion from the NBA2k League and 100 Thieves from League of Legends. Both franchises are expected to perform well as the Cavs Legion have a top team lead by Hood and 100 Thieves recently finished 2nd in the NA LCS.

Tier 1- Very Likely

Chicago- We will start with the city that most likely will take Cleveland out of the running this time. Chicago is a major sports city and it has hosted numerous major esports events. Most consider Chicago to be the New York of the midwest and for good reason. It is a very cultural city that has incredibly loyal fans and has the biggest population in the Midwest. Did we mention that the Midwest needs a team? Even if there were only two spots available it is likely that Chicago would be highly considered, now with the possibility of three, Chicago had better be ready for an esports team.

Courtesy of: Leagueoflegends.com

Hong Kong- Like Cleveland being overshadowed by Chicago, Beijing won’t be considered because of this city. Hong Kong has been one of the major Asian cities for the last century and is one of the most Westernized cities on the continent. Combine this with the fact that it is likely that the OWL wants to reach more fans in China, and you get a top tier city. With a company like Tencent being in the area it is highly likely that they may want a piece of the OWL pie as well.

Paris- MSI for League of Legends will be happening here in just a few days. Paris has hosted esports events and is one of the major cities in Europe. Lets not forget that the London Spitfire are the only team representing Europe in a global league. If you don’t think Nate Nanzer is thinking about this then you’d be dead wrong. This city makes a ton of sense and like Chicago, even if they were only bringing in two teams overall it is likely Paris would be near or at the top.

Berlin- Almost everything that has been said about Paris can be said about Berlin. Although there is one distinct advantage, League of Legends EULCS is based there. This shows that people will attend games and the esports scene is growing there quickly. That being said, this may also be a reason why the league wont go here. As of right now it seems as though both leagues aren’t exactly on great terms (check out what happened to Immortals), so it is possible that the OWL could look elsewhere for now.

Seattle- Esports are based on the West Coast. It is where most of the studios are and it is where every team currently is based. With connections to Microsoft, many esports events being hosted there, and the general acceptance of esports in this city, it is likely they would be considered. Seattle would continue building the base of esports in the west and thus continue to grow it.

Overwatch League Expansion

Courtesy of: TheVerge.com

Toronto- The fact that there was not a team in Toronto to start was a little surprising. This city has a massive esports culture. It has hosted many events and it has one of the new NBA2k League teams. Canada needs to be represented in this league and Toronto is an obvious choice to make it happen.

Las Vegas- A year ago this may not have been a top choice. But with their new esports arena (used by Ninja for a Fortnite tournament), a new hockey team that is doing extraordinarily well, and a new NFL team, this city is ripe for an OWL team. The stereotype of Las Vegas being the sin city is still there. However, in the last decade or so it has become much more family friendly. With all of the new major venues and teams coming to Vegas, an OWL team just makes sense to join them.

Tokyo- Last but certainly not least is the biggest city in Japan. There is a massive culture built around gaming and esports in this city and country. They even have heroes and a map representating them in game. If a slot buyer comes forward with connections to the city then it would be very hard for the OWL to pass up the opportunity to bring Tokyo into the mix.

What do you think?

These are some of the top cities that could be considered for Overwatch League spots. As of right now there have been no announcements as to the bidding process, who has made a bid, or just about anything other than what we know from that original report. Speculation will increase the hype as the league starts their last stage this week.

What cities do you think will receive teams? Are there any that were missed? Comment below and let us know!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and eSports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Multi-Esport Cities

While the Esports industry is very young, franchising has allowed for it to mature much faster than its traditional sports counterpart. With franchising coming into play there are many different groups and people buying in, and these entities want esports teams in their cities.

This means that many fans will start to want to see their teams in person and thus esports arenas are the next step, you can check out why that is here.

The teams in League of Legends have not officially stated what cities they will be based in, so some of this is a bit of guessing as either they were founded in these cities or have major investments from them.

Now here is a list of US/NA cities that already have multiple teams in them:

Boston:

  • Boston Uprising (Overwatch League)
  • Celtics Crossover Gaming (NBA2k)

Cleveland:

  • 100 Thieves (League of Legends)
  • Cavs Legion (NBA2k)

Dallas:

  • Dallas Fuel (Overwatch League)
  • Mavs Gaming (NBA2k)

Houston:

  • Clutch City (League of Legends)
  • Houston Outlaws (Overwatch League)
  • OpTic Gaming (League of Legends)

Los Angeles:

  • LA Gladiators (Overwatch League)
  • LA Valiant (Overwatch League)
  • The Overwatch League
  • NALCS

Miami:

  • Florida Mayhem (Overwatch League)
  • Heat Check Gaming (NBA2k)

Milwaukee:

  • Bucks Gaming (NBA2k)
  • FlyQuest (League of Legends)

New York:

  • Counter Logic Gaming (League of Legends)
  • Echo Fox (League of Legends)
  • Knicks Gaming (NBA2k)
  • New York Excelsior (Overwatch League)

Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Golden State Guardians (League of Legends)
  • San Francisco Shock (Overwatch League)
  • Warriors Gaming Squad (NBA2k)

Philadelphia:

  • 76ers GC (NBA2k)
  • Philadelphia Fusion (Overwatch League)

Toronto:

  • Raptors Uprising GC (NBA2k)
  • Team Solo Mid (League of Legends)

 

We will make sure to continue updating this list as more esports franchise, more teams commit to cities, and more teams join the already franchised leagues. An EU and Asia list will come out once a couple other franchising esports leagues finalize.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Svenskeren is not worried about the recent 3-3

 


The last three weeks, Cloud9 has gone 1-1. Is this signs of C9 having weaknesses, or is it more experimenting on stage?

“So we have been trying out a lot of stuff on stage. If we only cared about winning, we might not have tried things out, but Reapered knows what he is doing. So he is just giving us a lot of training time on stage where it is a lot more valuable than playing that way in scrims. Because in scrims you can kind of stomp the game and the enemy will give up and give a lot of free kills and snowball a lot faster. But on stage, the games are typically a lot slower, so you can’t snowball as fast. So I think Reapered knows what he is doing and giving us a lot of practice time on stage. I’m not really worried about the 1-1 weeks because we are just using it for practice mostly.”

 

Both Reapered and Jack mentioned that their focus is solely on Worlds, so it definitely makes sense that you are treating stage time as practice time. What is it that you’ve learned specifically while on stage while using that as practice?

“It’s just that on stage we can pick Lucian top and Jayce top, and I just played Volibear right now. So you can play whatever you feel like. And if you think it’s a strong pick then Reapered just believes in you and you can pull it out. So even though a lot of champs might not be meta, or whatever, you still get the chance to show your team whatever is actually viable. So it’s a pretty nice environment where the games are more relaxed I guess. And we actually get chances to prove ourselves.”

 

The Jungle Meta has seemed very stale this season, with 45 Sejuani games picked out of 70 games. Now that there is finally a patch affecting the jungle – now that there is no Tracker’s Knife – are we going to start seeing some of the jungler pool opening up?

“You’re already kind of seeing it now. The champs that were strong before are still super strong, like Skarner and Sejuani. Sejuani had to go trackers knife before, so she didn’t deal too much damage, but with red smite now, she can actually just one shot you. It’s kind of stupid that tanks deal so much damage because of red smite too. It’s not just that assassins that can use it. Obviously Kha’Zix is super strong as well, but that’s not really because of the Skirmishers. It’s that the True Invisibility is kinda bullshit – there’s no counter play to the champion. I think that the patch has not been figured out completely yet, there might be some strong champs as well. Volibear is fine, any tanks are pretty okay because you generally out-scale if you have an enemy that doesn’t go tank, then as a team comp you kind of just win later on in the game. It’s pretty open as long as your team comp makes sense.”

 

So why have we seen two Lee Sins since the removal of Tracker’s Knife?

“I ran into some Lee Sins in solo queue where it seems pretty strong because with the Electrocute and the Skirmisher’s, you actually have a lot of early game damage. But it just gets out-scaled so hard and it’s pretty hard later on to be useful at all, you have to go for some pretty sick outplays. But in competitive, where the players are like even skill as you, they can kind of play around your play. So I just don’t really see the risk of picking it being worth it.”

 

Do you have any thoughts on some other picks we haven’t seen yet that may be pretty good?

“I obviously don’t want to leak whatever I’m practicing before I put them on stage. But yeah, I’ve been playing some champs that are definitely viable, I just haven’t put them on stage yet. Obviously there are more than Sejuani and Skarner that’s available.”

 

Any thoughts on some of the middle tier teams and which seem like they might be able to pull something off in the playoffs if they make it there?

“Well CLG is looking pretty good right now on the new patch. And you can never underestimate TSM. So I think as long as we don’t go against TSM in the first round, it should be pretty good for us.”

 

Lastly, you’ve been on C9 for a while now. So what is it like with the change to a new organization, and what is it like having Jensen in the mid lane?

“My time on C9 has been really positive. There’s not that many stressful situations where a lot of people are yelling or aggressive. Everyone is pretty neutral in the discussions and take things with an open mind. And I think Reapered leads the conversation so there isn’t much opportunity for people to get in heated arguments because Reapered has the final say. And working with Jensen is pretty easy I would say. I thought he would be really different coming into the team, but he has actually grown a lot as a person rather than when I knew him in EU where he was kind of a kid. But now he is pretty mature and takes in a lot of stuff I tell him and he tells me a lot. So we improve together, and obviously he is a super good player.”

 


Find Svenskeren on Twitter @C9Svenskeren. Check back here for more content and our YouTube channel for my video interviews! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Meteos breaks down their win over TSM and talks 8.4 changes

Hey guys, somehow, Meteos broke my camera again. It was fixed last week, and I go to interview him and it isn’t. I hope you enjoy the interview though. He is always extremely insightful and fun to talk to. Again, you can find the audio of our conversation below, and look out for other interviews on our YouTube Channel.


 

You went into the match giving TSM a power combo with Galio and Camille which they’ve proven to be really good at, so how were you  prepared to shut TSM down like you did?

Well yesterday we played against Xayah + Rakan and it’s just really hard to play against. We had one of our worst games against Liquid. So we said “Let’s not play against Xayah + Rakan again,” and we ended up getting it which was sweet. It just seems like that combo is really strong right now, everybody is winning with it. That gave us a lot of options to make big plays bot lane. And of course their picks were really good too with the Camille and Galio which makes a strong comp. But it turned into a game of they need to dive on us, and we need to not let our carries die to their dive. And at some point in the game, Riot decided that carries should never die to a dive. So I think dive comps are really hard to successfully pull off, so after the draft I was feeling pretty good. I was Sejuani into a Zac which is pretty good for Sej. I think we played to our strengths pretty well – not a perfect game – but I like the way we played. It was a disciplined game, we tried to press our advantages, tried to not let them get anything for free, and it went pretty well.

 

Since our last conversation, 100 Thieves has gone 3-1 which means you are 4-1 in your last five games after your mid season losing streak. So how is the team doing now as we gear up towards playoffs?

Well I think we’ve been doing a lot better, obviously, but we are still not totally where we need to be. Yesterday against Liquid… not a good game at all. I think that it’s going to take some time to get used to the new patch because I think that vision control was definitely one of my strong points as far as junglers go. I think that I could generally get down lots of vision and figure out where the enemy jungler is going to be. So without trackers knife, the game is super different. So it’s not just that I have to relearn what I’m doing, but the whole team has to learn to play around less vision and less information… Gotta keep working on our macro and our communication. I think we’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

 

TSM is often thought of as a top performing team, even when they were losing this season. Other teams have ranked them very highly, and Cody Sun even said it on stage today. Where would you rank them, which team do you think is toughest for you and 100 Thieves to beat?

That’s a good question. I probably think that Echo Fox and C9 are the best teams. They just play really smart. They’ve got super good individual players. There are multiple levels of teams, and I hear this in other games and sports too. The bottom level – you don’t really know what’s going on. The middle level – you generally know what you’re supposed to do. And the top level – where you know when you’re not supposed to do what you’re supposed to do. So it’s a slightly less optimal play, but it works in this situation because it might not have been what the others were expecting. I think Echo Fox and C9 are really good at that part. They know how to play the game methodically, and they do a lot of surprises, like Lucian top. In my opinion, those are the hardest to play against.

 

Photo provided by LoL Esports Flickr

I’d love some insight on the meta on the new patch with the Tracker’s Knife change and Banner of Command.

Banner is really weird. I don’t necessarily hate it, because I like anything in the game that makes things happen and makes fights start. And Banner is pretty good at that because the tank minion will run over your whole base if you don’t do anything about it. I think it is probably over-tuned right now and I imagine it will get nerfed, but there are some counters to it. Like Tahm Kench can eat the siege minion, Syndra can just pick it up, Ezreal is good at killing it using Qs since it’s only immune to magic. But it can definitely be pretty troublesome. I think that the Banner itself is kind of a weak item stat wise, and you don’t want to rush it on everybody because you’ll just lose fights. I think it’s pretty cool, but just over-tuned right now.

I like the idea of a tank minion being able to take down a tower, because it actually opens up more comps. Like if you don’t have an adc that can hit the tower, it doesn’t matter because the siege minion can bring it down. And I really don’t like games where it comes to a point where it is stalemated, like you can never hit the turret or you will eat a bad engage or take really free damage. So I like that it basically forces the other team to engage on you unless they want to lose their whole base slowly. So I think that part is cool, but it does feel like the counters to it now are kind of gimmicky. You need these specific champions, or Minion Dematerializer into the late game. So I think they could rebalance it to just take reduced physical and magic damage but not be immune to one. So your tank minion will do damage to the tower, they can’t kill it for free, but it won’t be invincible. I think something like that would probably be a good change.

 

And what about your thoughts on the jungle champions and changes?

I’m not super happy with where jungle is, because it seems like the reason things are viable aren’t because you put so much time in it. Like “I want to play Elise, but this champion is just terrible, I can’t clear my jungle and I don’t scale whatsoever.” So a few changes I would like… I think it’s too hard to kill jungle camps, especially as the game goes on. Initially when they had Spirit Stone, the idea was that laners aren’t supposed to be poaching jungle camps. Junglers are supposed to farm the jungle camps and laners are supposed to farm the lane. And I thught that was pretty cool. But now it’s like my adc will kill a camp twice as fast as I can if I’m on a jungler.

And you still have to play tanks, because like I said earlier, dive champions really aren’t that viable. The only thing my champion can do is attempt to kill the adc and I can’t do it then I’m so useless. Like, if I pick Vi in a game, even though her early/mid is not terrible, what do you do when a teamfight rolls around? I’m going to try to ult their carry. They’re going to have Tabi, GA, I’ll get exhausted, they’ll have Heal and shields. They wait for Vi to ult and then instantly kill her. I think the meta is pretty inhibiting of what champions are actually playable, so you are going to see a lot of the same ones unless they get nerfed to the ground/unplayable… Unfortunately, it seems like all the balance changes just seem to look at what champions are played and just nerf them to the ground and then you have to play stuff like Nunu, and it sucks… But hopefully some good changes come.

 

Photo provided by LoL Esports Flickr

Lastly, we have seen a lot of 1-1 weeks from some of the top teams. Are these teams trying new things, or are we just seeing some of the weaknesses that maybe they’ve had all along?

Hmm, good question. I do think that as the season goes on, we’ve seen GGS winning a lot of their games, even against the top teams. CLG beat C9 recently. I think sometimes it can be the case that teams guaranteed into playoffs get kind of comfortable, but the teams that really want to make playoffs get super hungry. Generally in competitive League, what I’ve found is the team that wins generally just makes less mistakes. So if you really, really need to win, versus a team who is just kind of there – they don’t want to lose obviously, but they don’t need the win – they may be a little bit more relaxed, more careless with things. All these teams in the LCS are good even if they’re at the bottom of the standings, it’s not like they’re a bad team with bad players. If you give them enough opportunities, anyone can win.


 

 


Find Meteos on Twitter @MeteosLoL. Check back here for more content and our YouTube channel for my video interviews! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

CLG

CLG isn’t done yet

Things looked bleak for Counter Logic Gaming. They were on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention, which has never happened before in the history of the LCS. After going 3-3 in the first three weeks of the Spring Split, they lost the next 6 straight. Sitting in last place going into Week 7 where they faced Cloud9 and Team Liquid, there wasn’t much hope. Was it possible for CLG to completely turn things around and claw their way up from the bottom? Some still hoped, but not many thought so. As they set up for Saturday’s game, most of the discussion centered around how far they had fallen, and how strong Cloud9 looked.

Saturday

Unfortunately for CLG, the game started just as many had predicted. Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi (Varus) killed Vincent “Biofrost” Wang (Rakan) for first blood before 7 minutes, and had earned 3 more kills before CLG found their first. Cloud9 also took the first four towers of the game, and the first dragon, the first inhibitor and the first two Barons. By 37 minutes into the game, Cloud9 looked untouchable. They had a 10.2k gold lead, and had four kills and five towers over CLG. Sneaky had seven kills, one death and five completed items. The game looked like it was Cloud9’s for the taking.

The turning point

To the surprise of many, CLG was not in fact defeated – they were simply biding their time. Just after the 38th minute, C9 snuck into CLG’s blue-side jungle and ambushed Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin (Zac). As he wandered too close to a bush, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie (Maokai) used Twisted Advance to root him. The fight turned against C9 almost immediately, as Reignover used Let’s Bounce! to bring Licorice back to his team. Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes (Xayah) and Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun (Taliyah) deleted him, while Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya (Cho’Gath) used Gargoyle’s Stoneplate to tank the damage from C9’s carries and zone them out. Without hesitation, CLG moved to the Baron Pit. Using the 4v5 advantage and a well placed Weaver’s Wall, they were able to take Baron, and use the buff to destroy the Mid Lane Inhibitor.

CLG stayed a bit too long, trying to get some damage on the Nexus Turrets. Explosive damage from Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen (Ryze) brought Stixxay low enough for Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen (Kha’Zix) to kill him, but he traded his life in the process. The rest of CLG backed off and rotated to the Elder Dragon. With the enemy Jungler down, they were able to delay taking the Dragon long enough for Stixxay to respawn, ensuring the buff would have its maximum effect.

Completing the comeback

With the added damage from this buff, CLG pressured Cloud9’s Bottom Lane, and capitalized when the enemy lost focus. Licorice stepped too far forward, and Biofrost began a chain of Crowd Control that prevented him from getting out alive. Counter Logic Gaming backed off after the death of Reignover, but turned when Andy “Smoothie” Ta (Leona) Flashed forward to stun the low-health Darshan. Stixxay was able to delete two members of C9 before falling, and Huhi, Biofrost and Darshan were able to finish off the rest of the enemy team and secure the win.

Stixxay may have carried the team in terms of damage, but each member made key plays to engage, zone or disrupt the enemy, and they demonstrated cohesion that they hadn’t shown in quite some time. The mix of relief, excitement and newly refreshed confidence was evident on their faces as they left the stage following their first victory in weeks.

CLG

The members of CLG greet fans after their victory. Courtesy of LoL Esports

Sunday

Despite both teams earning a victory the day before, most people still expected Team Liquid to be the one to end the weekend on a win. They were 8-5 compared to CLG’s record of 4-9, and their victory the previous day was much more convincing than that of their opponent. Team Liquid were the clear favorites to win, but nobody told CLG.

Getting ahead

An early tower dive by Biofrost (Bard) and Reignover (Olaf) allowed Stixxay (Varus) to get first blood on Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung (Braum). Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng (Tristana) seemed stunned as he stood by with full health, barely landing a few auto attacks on the enemy Jungler as his support was killed.

Three minutes later, Counter Logic Gaming attacked the enemy’s Bot Lane again, this time bringing all five members. Huhi (Orianna) and Reignover approached through the enemy jungle, and Darshan (Mao’Kai) used Teleport while Biofrost made one of the best plays yet this split to set up the dive. He stunned both Doublelift and Olleh using Tempered Fate, and then flashed behind his opponents as it expired, ensuring that his Cosmic Binding would not be blocked by Braum’s Unbreakable before stunning both of them again. With the enemy unable to escape, Reignover moved in for the kill on Doublelift, and Huhi cleaned up Olleh.

Staying ahead

CLG increased this early lead by dominating the Mid Game, racking up three more unanswered kills and three dragons before moving in on the Baron. Team Liquid was too far behind to contest it, and Biofrost eliminated any hope of a steal by Jake “Xmithie” Puchero (Gragas) with a well placed Ultimate. Immediately after taking Baron, CLG caught out two members of the enemy team and killed them. Using this advantage and the Baron Buff, CLG were able to push into the enemy base. Team Liquid tried to fight them off, but were unable to overcome the CLG lead, and within minutes, the game was over. CLG had done what many had thought impossible just a few days before, and gone 2-0 in Week 7.

How far can they go?

Counter Logic Gaming still has a long road ahead. They currently sit in 7th place in the NA LCS, still out of the playoffs. In order to continue their post-season streak, they will have to keep playing as well as they did this week, and even if they do, either TSM, Team Liquid or 100 Thieves will have to falter. Their victories this week did not secure them a spot in the post season, but it did do one thing. It proved that when they play up to their potential, they’re good enough to get there.

Find the rest of my articles here. If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @buttsy11.  For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports

Meteos discusses the importance of their win over CLG, potential over-analysis and draft strategies


Hey guys, Meteos is a rock star jungler and a stellar interviewee. Unfortunately, my camera was still not functioning as intended this weekend, but I have done some troubleshooting and do not anticipate problems in the future. You can find the audio of our conversation below, and look out for other interviews on our YouTube Channel.


Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

 


 

How important is this win for your morale on the team?

“For morale, this win is really important. There is a big difference between being 5-5 after a win and 4-6 after a five game losing streak. I’m more concerned with how we are playing as a team. We have had some struggles with that, but I think we are improving. It’s tough because each week there are only two games, and on the record it’s just a win or a loss. But yeah, I do think we are improving.”

 

How much of these recent losses to you attribute to the circumstance of the day in a best-of-one scenario, and how much is it indicative of larger issues on the team?

“I don’t think it’s too much the best-of-one since games are generally long enough that the strongest team comes out ahead – unless there were big mistakes in the draft. A lot of our losses are not being on the same page and having as good of teamwork as others.”

 

What are you as a team focusing on to put that back together to get back to how you started the split?

“There are a lot of things you have to juggle when coming together as a team and it’s hard to tackle it all at once. It’s almost cliche, but a big thing is communication. You have to know how to talk to your teammates, especially when giving feedback in scrims. Scrims have changed a lot in NA, whereas before we played more games, but had a lot less review. Now we play fewer games, but we sometimes have up to 30 minutes of review in between. But sometimes this extra review can be bad, we can sort of over-analyze what is going on. Like if we got behind making a certain play, we might have a conversation about the play and decide not to run it again, even though we shouldn’t expect to never do something similar in the future. There might be times when it’s good. So it’s a bit tough to figure out how to go through scrims.”

 

As a jungler, do you go in with a set gameplan and jungle route all very calculated, or do you try to stay flexible for whatever happens in the game?

“It really depends on each game. Some games have really volatile matchups like in C9 vs FOX with the Lucian vs. Gangplank. Controlling the top side of the map is obviously really important. What that means also varies player to player. Whatever it may be, it’s about accomplishing that goal and creating pressure. It isn’t super micro, though, like planning each camp and when you want to go for kills. There are just too many variables in the game and you need to be able to have a bit more flexibility in your play for when things change.”

 

Reignover talked about it being easier to play for the top side when on the blue side of the draft. Can you break that down a bit for me?

“Reignover likes to play Rengar on blue side a lot and Rengar is really really good at playing aggressively. So I imagine it is because he can go for early invades on the enemy red area and set up vision and force them out of their jungle. It isn’t necessarily better for everyone, partly just due to how Reignover likes to play.”

 

Why would someone pick red side when they have the choice?

“Well on Blue, you get first pick which is super valuable, but since the change in the draft phase, red side gets a lot of opportunity to gain an advantage as well. You can pick specific champions in your 3rd slot that have bad matchups and then ban two counters to it and then you get the next pick as well! You also always get the last pick, which can be useful for counters and mind games!”

 


William “Meteos” Hartman after defeating CLG – Week 5

 


 

Find Meteos on Twitter @MeteosLoL. Check back here for more content and our YouTube channel for my video interviews! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

The Echo Fox Team

Keeping the faith: Echo Fox, Dardoch and the case for second chances

The path of Echo Fox

When Echo Fox joined the NA LCS prior to the 2016 Spring Split, the expectations and excitement were high. Purchasing the spot from Gravity, former NBA Star and actor Rick Fox wasted no time. He invested quickly and heavily in foreign talent, but due to Visa issues among other things, Echo Fox ended their first split in 7th place. By the end of that year, they found themselves facing NRG Esports in a best of five series for the right to stay in the NA LCS. Though they avoided relegation, they ended both 2017 Splits in 8th place. By the start of 2018, they had a completely new roster. Now, sitting atop the NA LCS at 7-1, they have defied critics with a roster full of second chances.

 

Dardoch and Echo Fox

Courtesy of LoL Esports

 

Dardoch

The signing of Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to yet another team was one of the most talked about stories this preseason. Since signing with AffNity in 2014, he played for no less than nine teams before finally landing with Echo Fox. The year he spent with Team Liquid was his longest stint in one place. During that time he bounced between being a starter, a substitute and a member of their Academy team.  

A mechanically talented player, the cause of his frequent moves was not because of poor performance. Instead, most were due to personal differences with other members of the organizations. Before long, this understandably earned him the reputation of being hard to work with. Other than Team Liquid, each team that signed him found a replacement within six months. He represented Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming and even found his way back into a Team Liquid uniform for a split before being signed by Echo Fox.

Now, it seems that he has figured out whatever issues he had with teams in the past. Dardoch has built a rapport with his team that is not just built on his talent, but also his presence as a teammate. Additionally, he has excelled on the rift with his current team, and is looking more dominant than ever. Adding improved decision-making and pathing to his already impressive mechanics, he leads both the NA and EU LCS junglers by a margin of over 20 assists after only four weeks of play.

 

A common theme

Though he may be the most well known example, Dardoch’s story isn’t exactly unique on the Echo Fox roster.  ADC Johnny “Altec” Ru has played for 11 different teams since 2014, including three stints as a substitute. Support Adrian “Adrian” Ma has worn six different jerseys in the NA LCS. Three of these came last season when he left Phoenix 1 due to internal issues, spent one month with Team Liquid, and then landed with Team Dignitas. Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun spent last year as the mid lane substitute for Gold Coin United. This NA Challenger Series team finished in second place, but failed to secure a promotion to the LCS. Even Top Laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, who has the most consistent history of the group, has been a member of four teams in three different leagues over the last four years. SKT T1 released Huni after they failed to win the World Championship last year.

Though all well known players, it’s safe to say that not many would pick this roster to lead the NA LCS. Despite their history, however, the team has come together to earn a top spot, tied for first with Cloud9. One possible reason for this is maturity. Dardoch bounced between all of those teams and earned this reputation for being difficult all before his 19th birthday. Fenix is the only member over 20 at the ripe old age of 22. One can hardly blame players for struggling to navigate relationships and team politics perfectly at such a young age. As these players have grown, the sport has grown as well, and each year the infrastructure is improved to help the athletes succeed. In an esport dominated by younger and younger players, there may be something to be said for those who have earned experience and the level head that comes with it.

Echo Fox

Courtesy of LoL Esports

 

Supporting success

Another factor that should not be overlooked is the organization itself. With Fox’s experience in the NBA, three time NBA Champion Jared Jeffries as the new President, and the recent investment by the New York Yankees, Echo Fox approaches player management from a more traditional manner than most epsorts teams. They create an infrastructure that focuses on the development of the members as people as well as players. Along with this, they have a broad range of experience with players of varying egos and personalities.

Though his background is in traditional sports, Rick Fox has jumped into the esports scene with both feet. He is one of the most vocal supporters of not only his team, but esports in general. After their recent victory against Team Liquid, Dardoch referenced this support in a post game interview with LoL Esports. “I mean, it obviously helps a lot just having people in general…just being there to support us every day.” he said, referencing Rick waving from the crowd. “Stratton comes out, Jared Jeffries comes out, our President. And also Rick Fox comes out very often, so, just seeing them at work every day, and also them to show up on the days that matter most helps us a lot.”

Whatever the key ingredient is, it’s clear that it’s working. They have lost only one game this split to the veterans of CLG. Despite many critics’ predictions, they bounced back the next game just as strong as before. If they can keep succeeding, the members of Echo Fox may have finally found a permanent home and lasting success.

 

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Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports

NA LCS Week 1 overreactions

Week 1 of NA LCS is in the books and as always, teams don’t always seem too coordinated at the beginning of the split. The new meta has brought a lot of long games that has tested the shot calling and synergy of many of these newly formed rosters. Franchising seems to have upped the competition for sure as every team looked competitive in the first week. Here are some of the overreactions after week 1:

TSM will crash and burn

It’s no secret that Team SoloMid’s new roster debuted with a dud of a week. After being criticized heavily at last years world’s for the lack of early play making ability, the team went for a new look. They imported European duo laners Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez. They also brought in promising all star rookie jungler, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung, to round out the roster.

TSM looked like a mirror image of their Worlds team during week 1. They were lacking in early game play making and reacting to the enemy team’s moves. Former coach of the split, Kim “Ssong” Sangso was supposed to help fix their issues, but the team looked unchanged.

Star mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg faced heavy criticism from Riot analysts for his passive play. Many players were quick to defend him. They came in ranked near the top for most of the preseason power rankings. Going 0-2 is a major disappointment for this new roster and they’ll need to fix their drafts and early game play making if they don’t want to fall too far behind.

Echo Fox can actually win na lcs

Huni

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Echo Fox came being ranked as one of the lower tier teams in the league. Many argued that the egos on the roster would not be able to mesh well together and the team would ultimately fail once they lost a few games. In their first two games, the team looked very good going 2-0. Echo Fox’s early game has been the best in the league. They averaged a gold difference @15 of 4,233 over the two games they played.

Top lane star Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon showed off his top Lucian pick as a counter to Gangplank. He would end the game with a 4-0-6 KDA and flame horizon the originator of the saying, Lee “Flame” Ho-jong.

Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett showed out well with two good Zac games and finishing with a 9.5 KDA. Echo Fox looked really strong, but we’ll need to see them stay consistent heading into week 2. They’ll be facing off against a struggling TSM and Cloud 9 this week. If they can pull out another 2-0, this team could be the real deal. This could possibly be the roster that finally gets Echo Fox to playoffs.

100 Thieves Might be the Strongest of all the New teams

With the NA LCS introducing four new teams into franchising, 100 Thieves looked to be the best of all the teams. Built with solid veterans in just about every role this team could be a sleeper team to look out for. They have two strong Korean solo laners in Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.

They have a strong core of North American players as well in veterans Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black and William “Meteos” Hartman. Along with rising young stud Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, their roster looks solid. They were able to pull off a really close win against Optic Gaming and dominated Counter Logic Gaming.

Lead by passionate owner, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, 100 Thieves could start gaining fans quickly if they keep their success up.

Licorice is the Next Great NA Talent

When Cloud 9 announced that rookie Eric “Licorice” Ritchie would be replacing Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, many were quick to write them off as contenders. Licorice in particular had no LCS experience and hadn’t looked particularly strong against LCS competition. In their first match against CLG Licorice was a victim to camping by the enemy jungler, but was still able to deal the most damage in the game on Gangplank.

In his second game against Golden Guardians, he had an excellent Kled game going 7-0-6. Licorice has been a longtime solo queue stud, so if he can develop into a carry top lane he could be the next star from North America. Cloud 9 is known to be open to letting their players play what they think is strong so he’ll have a lot of freedom for champion choice.

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Is Echo Fox the biggest sleeper team?

It’s no doubt that when Echo Fox’s roster was announced, the biggest critique would be their clash of personalities. Echo Fox gutted their roster from last split in favor of bringing in young talented players among the scene. Just about every player was known as a rising young star at some point before failing to ever meet their potential.

With these questions being raised, many are ranking Echo Fox in the lower half of pre-season power rankings. The team seemed to have built off raw talent without regards to the problems that could arise.

Echo Fox has a lot of synergy questions to answer heading into the split. While this team on paper has a lot of talent, egos could clash if the team doesn’t perform well early.

New Year, New Dardoch?

Jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett alone is already on his fourth team in his young career. Fans were given an inside look into the life of Team Liquid in the HTC documentary, “Breaking Point,” where Dardoch was at the center of many clashes with teammates and coaching staff.

Last year Immortals granted Dardoch a three year contract, but Dardoch didn’t even last his entire first year before being transferred. In his departure video, it could be seen that Dardoch hadn’t changed much from his Team Liquid days. He was shown still clashing with teammates and coaching staff and Immortals traded him to Counter Logic Gaming after the Spring Split.

With CLG, not much was known to fans about why Dardoch would eventually be replaced. He felt betrayed when the team brought in Omar “Omargod” Amin to split scrims with him. After Omargod was brought in Dardoch felt the need to leave the team and would eventually be transferred back to Team Liquid.

Dardoch has a new chance with Echo Fox to prove that he has matured and can succeed in this league. This may be his last chance as many teams may not be willing to give him another chance if he can’t fix his attitude issues.

Adrian and Altec Stay Together

Photo by: Riot Esports

Echo Fox’s bot lane duo of Johnny “Altec” Ru and Adrian “Adrian” Ma come over after a brief stint on Dignitas. With Dignitas, they instantly made the team better as Dignitas was able to upset Cloud 9 in the first round of playoffs before losing to TSM in the next round. Altec and Adrian were a large part of Dignitas’ improvement.

On Echo Fox, they’ll have the benefit of having played together before. Adrian has had attitude issues on other teams as well. Most recently, on Phoenix1, he was quick to point out Inori’s flaws in an interview. This would eventually lead to Adrian being transferred off of Phoenix1.

Both Altec and Adrian were heralded as rising young stars early in their careers. Neither of them have been able to qualify for a world championship, despite being on some talented rosters. The added synergy from playing together will definitely help in developing Echo Fox’s synergy.

Huni’s Return

The biggest acquisition for this team might be in the top lane with former SKT top laner, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. Huni had the experience of playing in the most competitive region in the world last year. He failed to win the World Championship with SKT, but his mechanical skill was still seen through his play.

When he played in EU and NA many critiqued his inability to play tank champions. With SKT, he showed the ability to play both tanks and carry champions. He’s always had a positive and fun attitude towards the game in interviews. He gives a bright and positive attitude to a roster that may need it.

Many will remember his great regular season performances in North America the last time he was here with Immortals. If he can duplicate that same success, Echo Fox could be surprise contenders at the end of the split.

With nobody really talking about them at the moment, Echo Fox has the chance to finally have a successful split in the LCS with this new roster.

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Is Cloud 9’s new roster underrated?

Heading into the new split, one of the biggest organizations in NA LCS, Cloud 9, made some questionable moves this off season. They lost top laner, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, to Team Liquid and also let rising jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia leave. With the acquisitions of rookie top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and former TSM jungler, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, most people are considering these moves downgrades. Licorice is a huge question mark as someone who has never seen the LCS stage outside of challenger series. He showed carry potential at times, but when faced against LCS-level competition, he floundered. Svenskeren comes in after a shaky year with TSM in which he took the blunt of the criticism for their failures. Cloud 9 have always been a top organization in NA LCS, but are people downplaying how good this roster can actually be?

is Licorice the next Hauntzer?

Photo by: Riot Esports

Licorice is seen as the biggest question mark heading into the new split. He hasn’t had any LCS experience outside of the challenger series, but has shown flashes of his carry potential. He’s often been high on the solo queue ladder so the mechanics are definitely there. In a region with weaker top lane talent, Licorice has the chance to have the similar path of TSM’s Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

Licorice has the chance to learn from many of the LCS veterans on his team. Many people doubted TSM’s signing of Hauntzer after seeing him do decent with Gravity. Nobody thought that he would be as good as he is today. Being surrounded with some of the best players in the league gives him a chance to learn from the best. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Andy “Smoothie” Ta are all at least top two players within the region. While Svenskeren may have had an off year this past split, the new runes may favor his type of playstyle.

Licorice seems hungry to learn and brings in a new young player that Cloud 9 can mold. This is the second straight season that they’ll be bringing on a rookie NA player.

Keeping the Core

If there’s one move Cloud 9 can be praised for, it’s keeping the core of their success. Jensen and Sneaky are two of the best carries in North America at their positions. Sneaky, being underrated for most of his career, finally began to receive recognition last year after good Worlds and Gauntlet performances. He attended his first All star event this past year. Smoothie has also shined since joining Cloud 9 as a shot caller and play making support. Smoothie continues to grow every year and is arguably one of the best supports in the league now.

While there were rumors that head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu could bolt after last season, he has stayed with the team. Since coming onto the team in May 2016, he’s given the team the leadership to succeed and shot call in game without former star, Hai “Hai” Lam. Being able to keep a coaching talent like Reapered is huge for staying successful.

Which Svenskeren Will We see?

It’s no secret Svenskeren is coming off one of the weakest years of his career. He received much of the criticism for TSM’s lackluster performances at international events. Joining a new team gives him a fresh start to rebuild himself. This will likely be his last chance to prove that he can be a world class jungler. With the new runes leaning towards more aggressive junglers, Svenskeren might be able to reinvigorate his career.

He matches much of the aggression of star mid laner, Jensen, so it will be interesting to see how the two work together. They could form one of the most aggressive mid/jungle duos if things work out correctly. Former TSM owner, Andy “Reginald” Dinh noted his lack of synergy with former support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang. Jungle and support synergy is especially important in the early game play making. With Smoothie being a very vocal member of the team, I could see him and Svenskeren working really well together.

Cloud 9 will have some big questions to answer in the new season. With franchising shaking up rosters, there will be some new teams on the rise for sure. Cloud 9 will need to be on top of their game if they want to stay contenders in a growing NA LCS scene.

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Cover Photo by Riot Games